Just in time to start our new season, we finally finished matching all the blue whales from the Northwest Atlantic (NWA), thus closing the 2017 catalog.
The last blue whale to be added to our NWA blue whale catalog
As with the Northeast Atlantic, 2017 was a good year for blue whale identifications in the St. Lawrence. We identified 77 blue whales in total, bringing our Northwest Atlantic catalog to a total of 525 individuals. Among those 77, we found 19 new individuals – that’s a quarter of new individuals for the year, and 3.5% of the entire catalog!
We hadn’t seen such high numbers of blue whales since the early 1990s. Similarly to the recent increase in right whale sightings, this likely reflects underlying environmental changes and shifts in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
B525 - the newest addition to the catalog, photographed in summer of 2017
As we are about to start our 40th research season, we are eager to see what this year has in stock for us!